The French-born, London-based Jo Cocco is a producer, multi-instrumentalist and session player. He’s collaborated and toured with acts such as Aloe Blacc, Gentleman, Max Romeo, Sly & Robbie and Sara Lugo, but now he’s got his first solo track out: ‘Let It Go’ featuring HAM The Illustrator, MC Solomon and Hughdem. We caught up with Jo to find out more about his debut.
Working with Aloe Blacc and Gentleman helped me realise what I can achieve for myself and how much is possible.
First up, tell us a bit about yourself - what first got you into music?
I was three when I asked my parents for a guitar. They bought me one and that’s how it all began. I started attending music academies in my hometown Lyon, France where I learned how to play the guitar and later also drums. I had a classical education and got taught how harmonies and sheet music work.
Were there any particular bands or artists you took inspiration from?
My first love was the blues guitar and especially B.B. King as you can hear on ‘Let It Go’. Others big influences came from Isaiah Sharkey, Chris Dave, Quest Love, Snoop Dogg, Chance The Rapper, Mac Miller etc. There are just so many good artists I love to listen to.
How would you describe your style?
I’d say hip hop/soul with blues influences.
If you could collaborate with any living artist who would you choose?
I’d definitely love to work with Anderson .Paak and The Free Nationals. They are amazing!
You’ve worked with acts such as Aloe Blacc, Gentleman and Max Romeo. What have you learned from them?
Working with Aloe Blacc and Gentleman helped me realise what I can achieve for myself and how much is possible, when I worked with Ijahman Levi and Max Romeo they both really saw my talent and respected me for who I am and my love of music so when I came back from being on tour with them, I felt so much more connected to myself and had a greater sense of my own spirituality.
I feel so lucky and privileged to still work with them, I learn a lot about myself when I’m on tour with them.
Tell us about your debut single ‘Let It Go’. What’s it about?
‘Let It Go’ is about having fun and just doing you, doing your thing. But it’s also about not being afraid of asking people for what you need and trying to create without being afraid of anything. The message is to think in a positive way, to give love, work hard and respect one another.
When did you write it and where did you record it?
I recorded the beat between 2014 and 2017 in my home studio in Lyon, and then in a proper studio, still in Lyon. When I moved to London in 2017, I met the featured MCs, gave them the subject and told them that I composed the beat as a “cry no more” melody. They came up with the lyrics and we recorded the whole track in 2017/2018. The song was finally ready.
How does ‘Let It Go’ represent your style?
I think mainly you can hear my style in the guitar riff and that blues loop paired with a compelling drum and bass line. I love that sing-along hook with a real piano played by a good friend of mine. It’s magical to me.
HAM The Illustrator, MC Solomon and Hughdem, a member of growing Brixton collective AndWhat, feature on the single. How did they get involved?
I met them one by one ever since I moved to London, in different MCs open mics or parties and I just introduced myself as a producer. So we got to know each other, chilled together and then I played the track. I just presented them the project and my idea and they were like “yes let’s do it!”.
What are your hopes for ‘Let It Go’?
I hope that a maximum of people are gonna hear and love it and then we will see. I’m just really happy to release the track!
What other plans do you have for the rest of the year?
My plan for the rest of the year is to release others singles, work on the live version with the MCs, keep on working on my production company Joozzy Records, find a booking agency and much more.
Finally, if you could wish for one thing to happen for you this year, what would it be?
To continue to release my music and play more live shows. That would make me really happy!
Watch the video for ‘Let It Go’ on YouTube below. For news and tour dates, visit the Jo Coco Facebook page.